Archive for September, 2009

B-52s in my kitchen

By
September 16th, 2009



There is a cockroach in my kitchen. Sorry. Scratch that. In local vernacular, I have a cock-a-roach.

Eeeeeewwwwwwww!

Eeeeeewwwwwwww! Actual size.

Because I get up at 3 am to get ready for work, I see this guy a lot. I hate it. He's there so much I think he's taken out a 401k plan on my kitchen counter.

It's dark when I flick on the kitchen light, so he never has a chance to creep home with daybreak like all the other cockroaches who cohabitate with regular folks. I don't know why he doesn't hear me coming. I must be so ninja.

I once did a story with an entymologist. I learned these are called American roaches. I really don't like them. I have been coaxed to let a seven inch centipede (de-fanged) crawl on my arm, I have eaten a lot of different kinds of bugs (yes, on purpose, not just having my mouth open while riding a motorcycle), but I can't get over my dislike for large roaches.

I have forced myself to try to get over my fear of these bugs. Because it's so early, I've learned to try to kill it myself. About 5 percent of the time, I succeed. Even getting within five feet of them grosses me out, but I try.

This morning, the guy was hiding out on my lunch cooler. It's a black bag, so sometimes I don't see the brown roach. When I turned to put my food in the cooler, he moved, and I screamed. Husband came in with slipper in hand. He knows the drill. He is such a good, good husband.

"Ooh. This is going to be a hard one," he analyzed. The angle of the roach perched at the top of a floppy bag meant Claus would have to swat it underhand as if holding a racquet, versus a hard smackdown on counter. I had faith in my husband. He's also nailed a 747 on the bedroom ceiling. I would not go to sleep with THAT above my head.

He whacked it right off the bag's corner, and it bounced off the wall and fell on the stove top. While it was still stunned, he smashed it with a napkin and discarded it. My hero!

...until the next roach discovers my kitchen. And then I have something waiting for him.

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Date Night!

By
September 14th, 2009



Date Night means dramatically different things when you're: single, married, and married with small kids. The excitement level goes down proportionately with each successive category. We're in the last category right now.

Whereas before I would primp and put on makeup and find a really cute outfit, now Claus is lucky if he gets me dressed at all. Due to my waking up in the 3 o'clock hour, working a morning shift, and then watching a finicky toddler for the rest of the day, by my normal bedtime of 6:30 p.m., I might want to just sleep. (Oh yeah, "Let's go to bed" takes on a literal meaning, too.)

I love this man

I love this man

I have definitely cancelled date night more than once. But on a recent Friday, I'm glad I didn't. We wanted to try Oahu's (and possibly the state's) only Himalayan restaurant, so we dropped in to Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimuki.

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I should mention it's hard to find, hence I've added photos of the building exterior. If you see this, and you're even vaguely familiar with Kaimuki, you'll recognize the building. It's on the second floor in a place that used to be a tea cafe in the early 2000's. It has a charming, warm atmosphere.

Building exterior

Building exterior

Next to Happy Days

Next to Happy Days

Second floor

Second floor

The place opened in late spring, and it's owned by Nepalese Suman Baset and his wife. He actually studied to be a graphic artist, but says he's always worked in kitchens, so opening this restaurant came naturally. We've been there twice and it's always busy.

On the day we went, I had my reporter notebook out so I could write down what I ate. For you, of course. For the blog. But not being a food critic now or ever, I forgot this might make restaurateurs nervous. I now realize why the waiter seemed extra attentive and why Suman dropped by the table a bunch of times.

That, and we realized later that Honolulu Magazine's John Heckathorn was dining two tables down with his wife. Their date night. John's a scarier one than me to encounter for a restaurateur. He's a real food critic! Did he like it? You'll just have to check out the magazine... ha ha. You can thank me later for that tease, John 🙂

To sum, we liked it all. We like to eat light, and I veer towards vegetarian when I can. Here is what we had.

Garlic naan bread

Garlic naan bread

Namkeen papri

Namkeen papri

Spring rolls

Spring rolls

Rice, Lamb Bhura, Yellow Dahl, Vegetarian Curry

Rice, Lamb Bhuna, Yellow Dahl, Vegetarian Curry

Mango Kulfi ice cream - yum!

Mango Kulfi ice cream - yum!

It's so weird so actually sit down and talk to my husband again. We sort of live in survival mode, where the conversations now consist of need-to-know items.

In the morning, if he is awake when I leave (he tries to work out in the morning now instead of the evening): "Hey. So, I have that doctor's appointment today and then we're going to the playgroup." "Right. Don't call me because I have an all day convention."

We don't usually call each other in the day to just chat. And in the evening, when he gets home and my brain is done for the day, the answer to "How was your day?" is similarly short. Or sometimes I'm so tired I can't even talk, which for me, says a lot.

At date night, I felt like I was catching up with a long lost friend, in some ways. I got a follow up to events that happened months ago. Months! Gosh. We used to talk a lot. We are on the same wavelength about lots of things. We're just so preoccupied with Olivia now, it's hard. So, it was really nice to revisit who we are as a couple, not as a couple of parents.

That was our date night. Maybe you'll have your own great story about Himalayan Kitchen!

himalayan-kitchen.com

(808) 735-1122

1137 - 11th Avenue, Kaimuki

I have two daddies!

By
September 9th, 2009



We practice an alternative lifestyle. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It can be best summed up by Olivia's recent utterance, "I have two daddies and one mommy!" Despite the rainbow-colored implication, it's actually that we have a live-in babysitter who is a man.

Second daddy

Second daddy

I wrote a whole explanation about it in a different column, http://www.aroundhawaii.com/lifestyle/art_and_leisure/2009-06-male-caregivers.html.

So, Jul has been living with us for about a year and a half, which is therefore most of Olivia's life. He is a constant presence, now watching her in the mornings while I'm still at work.

Real daddy

Real daddy

After she said it, Jul and I were both like, "Who taught that to her? I didn't teach her that!" He gently corrected, "No, Olivia. I"m not your dad. I'm your friend!" She thinks it's funny now and she keeps saying it. But she really does know who dad is, because she calls the real one "Daddy" and she calls Jul by his first name.

Now, we joke about it. "Daddy Jul," I sometimes tease. Or I'll ask, "Who's your second daddy? Sugar?" I'm sure that's not helping with the confusion.

Real daddy

Real daddy

It doesn't bother Claus. He spends as much time with her as he can, after work and on weekends. She's close to him, too. And it's not like Jul is trying to fight for her affection - not like a new stepdad or something. He's very sensitive about Claus' feelings. "It just means Jul is a great caregiver, and I'm grateful Olivia loves her babysitter," Claus said.

Real daddy

Real daddy

Of course, I'd like to see how that plays out in public. Especially since Claus was considering flying with Olivia to Denmark later this year, and asking Jul to accompany him to help watch her on this 23 hour trip.

What a nice couple they would make!

A day in the life of a morning anchor

By
September 5th, 2009



I essentially work a graveyard shift. Wikipedia says: "Graveyard shift... means a shift of work running through the early hours of the morning, especially one from midnight until 8 a.m. There is no certainty as to the origin of this phrase; according to Michael Quinion it is little more than 'an evocative term for the night shift ... when ... your skin is clammy, there's sand behind your eyeballs, and the world is creepily silent, like the graveyard.'" Lovely.

Paul Drewes, Cat Toth, me

Paul Drewes, Cat Toth, me

The newsroom, with its bright lights and blaring bank of television monitors, is not really like a graveyard. I should know, since I'm married to a funeral home co-owner, and I have lived across a cemetery before.

But working those odd hours will be the death of anyone, after too long. Most certainly, it's signaled the death my social life. After I got pregnant, it limped along on life support. After I moved to the morning show, it died altogether. How do you do anything after hours when your normal bedtime occurs when the SUN IS STILL UP???

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KHNL News8 Today is 5 - 7 a.m., Monday through Friday. Five days a week, I set my alarm clock for 3 a.m. I'm lucky I'm a part-timer who can stagger in without having to set up the news. The two poor producers who do that, clock in around midnight.

I've learned to pick out my outfit the night before, pack my breakfast (eaten at 4 a.m.) and lunch (8 a.m.), and put my purse in the car. All I have to do is wake up and go.

I love my job. I love who I work with and for (Dan Schmidt), and what I do. It's a really, really fun show. That was a pleasant surprise. It's what keeps me going. The only problem is, it's extremely hard on the back end.

Nate Ho, Performance Fitness Hawaii- Thursday guest

Nate Ho, Performance Fitness Hawaii- Thursday guest

I can leave after the show is done and the updates are cut. I often stay a bit longer - till 8:30 -  to prepare the next day's scripts for any guests who I have booked. (If you book it, you produce it, you host it.)

Cat Toth, Thursday guest

Cat Toth, Thursday guest

I try to nap, but it doesn't always work out. The best thing I've found is to go to sleep at 6:30 p.m. and have a long night of rest. My day is winding down by about 4:30 or 5 p.m.

People keep making well-meaning remarks about, "Wow, what a great job! You have the rest of the day with your kid!" Yes and no. Waking up isn't difficult, and I am usually excited to go to work because we often have fun guests. I always walk in excited to see my work friends. The show is fast-paced and casual, and I enjoy it.

dog-guest

When I leave the studio, I'm still charged, but by around 1 p.m., I'm getting tired. I have learned to recognize fatigue comes in different forms, including the obvious (tired), and the not so obvious (spacey, unable to focus). I get much less done because I spend a lot of time just zoned out.

The saddest thing is that I have a two year old, and I want to be more energetic for her. I don't want to stick her in front of the TV for an hour because I'm brain dead, but I often do. When tired, I sometimes feel like I am looking at my life through a window, a little bit detached and not participating.

8-21-9

And, because she is two, I can only nap when she naps. If I don't do it in the morning when the sitter is here, I might miss my window for the day because she doesn't always nap well. If I get really tired, I'm screwed.

Another casualty is my relationship with my husband. We have a solid foundation, but since I moved to mornings, I feel I hardly see or talk to him. When he gets home I'm too tired to really converse, and then I'm off to bed. We joke that in a week's time, we exchange enough words to form one sentence.

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On the weekends, I try to keep similar hours. I might let the bedtime slide to 8:30 p.m. and the wake up time slide to 6:30 a.m., but I don't want to, and my body clock can't handle, much more than that. This surprises a lot of people, but really - think about it. Consistency is key. Other morning anchors might do it differently, but this is what works for me.

Other people have different sleep needs, and energy demands, but I have been analyzed by sleep expert John Caldwell of Fatigue Science & Archinoetics as a "long sleeper" - meaning someone who likes eight to ten hours. I always have. It's a little inconvenient, but I accept it.

There's also the issue of vacation. I decided not to take one because time changes would throw off my delicately calibrated sleep cycle. What a drag.

It's an incredibly disciplined existence, and one flecked with a lot of fatigue. The first month transitioning was SO hard, I thought I might quit. I was tired all the time and miserable. I must reiterate, I always loved the job. It was the hours. I leaned on my friend Trini Kaopuiki, KHON's morning weathercaster. "Hang in there. It'll get better," she promised.

Thankfully, I got a teensy bit more used to it. It's at a tolerable level now. I honestly wonder how other morning newscasters do it for years and years. When I accepted this assignment, I decided to play it by ear and see how I felt after one year.

My Gal Sal's mini horses

My Gal Sal's mini horses

This is my experience as morning anchor. I know it seems like a glamorous life, and for two hours a day, it is. It's the other 22 hours that get'cha. I just felt like sharing the behind the scenes stuff that people don't think about and wouldn't know.

As Trini put it, "What other job could you have that still lets you see your child all day? Even if you are tired?" To which I laughed back, "Trophy wife." Maybe that's my next calling.

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Also reach me via DianeAko.com

Jen's Hot Box

By
September 4th, 2009



We have a funny little insider joke on the KHNL morning show. Have you noticed the pretty kiln glass plates on the sofa set coffee table? Those are made by my best girlfriend, Jen Chun, who does business as both Hawaii Kiln Glass and its edgier, urban sister company, Jen's Hot Box. (A kiln is a box that's hot. Get it?)

The pink platter

The pink platter, and my monstera leaf

It is something that evolved organically. When we first began the show in April (of this year), we noticed that an actual designer supplied the big furniture pieces, but not the table decorations. At first, a coworker brought a couple of artsy pieces so the coffee table wouldn't be naked. He gussied it up with a monstera leaf, which died, and then had to be replaced.

The lava-inspired platter, and my leaf

The lava-inspired platter, and my leaf

I like gardening, so I offered to be the foliage supplier. Anchor slash leaf supplier. It works. After a while I got bored with the same leaf, so I asked the crew what kind of greenery they wanted to see next. Jessica suggested we open up that vote to the entire viewership. And voila, a viewer-participation franchise was born.

The checkered platter, and my dying leaf

The checkered platter, and my dying leaf

The checkered plate

The checkered plate

We went on the show that week and mentioned periodically that people could bring in or send in stuff. Random stuff they wanted to see on TV. It would be fun. A little cult joke. I envisioned a set of Troll dolls one week and someone's art project the next. Kind of like Wired Magazine's been doing for years, asking people to send in oddities via the USPS.

And only Jen responded.

Jen (with one n!) Chun

Jen (with one n!) Chun

Thanks, people. Thanks a whole lot for playing.

So Jen it is! Each week or so (whenever I see her), Jen's been supplying new pieces of kiln-fused art glass for the coffee table. It's fun. And it's pretty! I suspect she'll be stepping up the rotation over these next six weeks, so keep watching for new pieces. Now you're in on the joke. And hey, you can still loan us your stuff, too.

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Other glass work

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Also reach me via DianeAko.com

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